Captain Marvel (8th series) #9

Issue Date: 
November 2016
Story Title: 
Lonely at the Top, part four

Ruth Fletcher Gage & Christos Gage (writers), Thony Silas (artist), Matt Wilson (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Caramagna (letterer), Kris Anka (cover artist), Chris Samnee & Matthew Wilson; Ryan Sook (variant cover artists), Anthony Gambino (title page design), Charles Beacham (assistant editor), Sana Amanat (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Captain Marvel thinks about the predictive justice project and the doubts some people have. She joins Sasquatch, Aurora and Puck as they return to Canada and battle Kolomaq, one of the Great Beasts who has returned. They are able to defeat him, and arrest Owen LeClerc who used the mask to summon Kolomaq. At the Triskelion they meet with Gyrich and Beaulieu, who asks why LeClerc wasn't in custody considering Ulysses identified LeClerc as a threat days ago. Captain Marvel explains that he was under surveillance, to which Aurora reveals that it was she who objected to him being placed in custody, as LeClerc has a history of schizophrenia, something she has struggled with herself, and didn't want him to be victimised because of it. Beaulieu wants to speak to Captain Marvel alone, and reveals concerns about Aurora – her disorder and being a mutant. He and Gyrich interrogate Captain Marvel for a time, before she shows them some profiles that the predictive justice team have been working on – Beaulieu notes that they are all dead, including the Master of the World and other villains, and suggests that Captain Marvel focus her organization's efforts on their enemies – like Iron Man. Captain Marvel argues with them and suggests that if they think she is wrong about the way she is leading, then they could see how well this would work without her. Three days later, Alpha Flight have apprehended Mutant force. They are soon confronted by Magneto, who expresses his disappointment in Aurora, and returns the drones that Captain Marvel had been using to spy on him. Magneto warns Captain Marvel that if she strikes at him, he will drop the Triskelion into the sea. Captain Marvel meets with the Cat-Doctor and they discuss the security systems onboard the Alpha Flight Space Station. The Cat-Doctor informs Carol that one in every few hundred transmissions had been re-beamed to an off-site satellite, using Stark-Tech. Carol wonders if they have a mole within the predictive justice team. Ulysses visits the Triskelion and has a vision – of Captain Marvel fighting Aurora. Alpha Flight approach Captain Marvel and Ulysses, so Captain Marvel makes an excuse and leaves them. But later, Carol informs them about the vision Ulysses had. Aurora is furious that she is being acused of being the mole, but Carol assures her she isn't accusing her, and is just setting out the facts. Aurora tells Carol that she believes in what she is doing, and that she would never committ the offense Carol is “asking” her about. Carol then reminds Aurora that she is very fast, and has another personality. At this, Aurora announces that she quits. She starts to leave, but Carol asks her to work with her, then tells her she can't let her leave, which causes Aurora to last out and punch Carol. Sasquatch and Puck side with their longtime teammate, and the battle is on – secretly watched by Beaulieu!

Full Summary: 

Alpha Flight Space Station, where Commander Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel is in an office. Photographs are stuck on a wall and scattered on the table in front of her. She thinks that the young Spider-Man and Ms Marvel are two more heroes who believed in what she is doing – but not anymore. She reminds herself that they are saving so many lives, so much is going right, and wonders how they can't see that. 'Do the things that went wrong just wipe it all out?' Carol asks herself. She admits that she is fried – she tries to think of everything, cover all possibilities, and it never stops. Looking at the photo of the young woman who uses her old codename, Carol decides that it is obvious – now more than ever, if she doesn't do this, no one will – or someone will do it a hell of a lot worse. Carol slumps into a chair – she just needs to sit for a minute. But suddenly, a holographic projection of Dr Walter Langkowski a.k.a. Sasquatch appears before her, reporting that there is a situation in Canada. 'We still have jurisdiction there, and no one else is nearby, so -' Walt begins. 'On my way' Carol replies as she speeds out of the office.

Oil Springs, Ontario, Canada, where Captain Marvel, Sasquatch, Aurora a.k.a. Jeanne-Marie Beaubier and Puck a.k.a. Eugene Milton Judd have engaged the Great Beast called Kolomaq. 'Kolomaq has returned! The forever winter is here!' the Great Beast boasts as snow falls around the heroes, who last out at their foe. Captain Marvel asks Puck 'What's the deal with this guy?' to which Puck jokes that he can make winter come harder and faster than George R R Martin. Puck adds that if they can't beat Kolomaq in twenty minutes, he will be unstoppable. 'Kneel before Kolomaq!' the Great Beast shouts as he slams a hand into Sasquatch, pushing him to the snow and covering his face. 'S-so...cold...' Sasquatch utters. Wide-eyed with fear, Aurora calls out to Sasquatch and moves towards her former lover, but Captain Marvel grabs her and pulls her back: 'We're running out of time' Captain Marvel declares, before reminding Aurora that Alpha Flight defeated this thing before, to which Aurora explains that they collapsed a cliff on him, but points out that the landscape is flat here. 'Then we improvise!' Carol exclaims as she fires a blast of energy past Kolomaq that sends snow rising up all around them, blanketing everyone.

'Understood' Aurora tells Carol, before asking Sasquatch and Puck to look away, as she releases a blinding light at Kolomaq. 'Gnats! I can blind you as well!' Kolomaq retorts, as Sasquatch grabs him from behind, then Puck slams himself against the Great Beast: 'Thing about that is... there'll be stuff you can't see either' Puck declares. With Kolomak knocked about, Captain Marvel swoops in for another punch, slamming the Great Beast down, he collapses into the snow. 'He's fading' Carol point out, suggesting they pile some more earth onto him, and then find the guy who freed the Great Beast before he gets away.

'I don't believe that will be a problem – he's right here!' Aurora calls out as she and Puck stand near a man, cowering as he holds an ancient mask. 'I'm sorry. The voice... it told me where to find the mask, what words to say. I thought it was God...' the man announces. 'Well, it was a kind of god, mon chér. Though not a very nice one' Aurora tells the man, before taking the mask from him. She instructs him to come with them, so they can take him somewhere that he can be helped. The man is loaded into a jet and Aurora tells Carol that he meant no harm. 'What will happen to him?' she enquires. 'Not really up to us' Carol replies, adding that if they can put in a word with Beaulieu as the Canadian rep on Alpha Flight's Board, he should have some influence. Carol points out that given they stopped Kolomaq before he started a new ice age, she figures the brass will be in a generous mood.

Back in the States, Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight arrive at the Predictive Justice Response Room in the Triskelion, where Henry Peter Gyrich and Philippe Beaulieu are waiting for them. 'It should never have gotten anywhere near that far!' Gyrich snaps. Beaulieu remarks that Ulysses named Owen LeClerc as a threat three days ago, and asks why he wasn't in custody. The heroes all frown, and Captain Marvel explains that they had no legal basis to hold him, as he doesn't have a criminal record, and gthere was no actionable evidence. She adds that all he had was a history of schizophrenia, but that he was controlling it with meds. 'Under the circumstances, surveillance seemed the best choice -' Carol begins, before Aurora interrupts her, announcing that it was she who objected. Aurora reminds everyone that she has struggled with dissociative identity disorder, so to imprison a man who has done nothing wrong, who works so hard to be well, it could destroy him. 'For all we knew, the trauma of such an arrest might have brought about the crisis Ulysses foresaw' Aurora points out.

Captain Marvel tells the two Board members that if they had arrested LeClerc, Kolomaq might have just targeted someone else to set him free. She adds that as it is, thanks to drone surveillance, they were poised to respond immediately when trouble started. Gyrich frowns and turns to Beaulieu, who asks Commander Danvers if they could speak to her alone.

Carol walks behind the men through the Response Room, as Beaulieu tells her that they know she has had some defections lately, and that they can't have that affecting her judgment. 'It hasn't' Carol replies. 'Really? Because you didn't want to offend Aurora's delicate sensibilities, you went easy on that nutjob LeClerc, millions in Oilfield equipment was destroyed' Gyrich announces. Images of the criminal group Mutant Force appear on a monitor, and Gyrich reminds Carol that Aurora is a mutant, before informing her that their intel says Mutant Force is active in the Southwest. 'You gonna go easy on them?' he asks. 'They have criminal records. With all due respect, if you have a problem with the way I'm running this -' Carol begins, before Beaulieu interrupts her: 'Of course we don't. You've performed impressively. But if we keep reacting at the last minute, sooner or later, we'll fail' he points out.

Gyrich declares that people will die, lots of them, and that is all it will take for public opinion to go against them. 'I'm not what you'd call a feminist, but I've seen how fast people turn on powerful women the second they make a mistake' Gyrich adds. 'If I gave a damn about opinions – public or otherwise – do you really think I'd be doing this?' Carol snaps. But Beaulieu reminds Carol that it isn't just about polls they are talking about, as the intelligence reports he is giving her are provided voluntarily by countries who feel they can trust them. 'If we fail, that stops. And we torpedo the initiative I feel is most crucial to the future of predictive justice' Beaulieu adds, before asking how the profiles are coming along. They walk over to another set of monitors, where the Predictive Response team are working and images of several villains appear on the screens – Count Nefaria, Madame Masque, MODOK, the Master of the World, Dark Phoenix, Baron Zemo and Fun Manchu. 'Great, actually' Carol replies, announcing that Ulysses is really adapting to using his power in new ways, and gthat it is like having FBI profilers create dossiers on criminals and what they might do, if their ability to predict things was close to supernatural. Carol adds that Iron Man thinks it is a problem that Ulysses doesn't actually see the future, but uses ambient information to predict it.

'He says that's reason not to do this. I disagree completely. To me, it means we don't have to wait around for some vision from the blue. We can help focus Ulysses' power by providing him data on criminals. Get way in front of known threats with our profiles, and have an entire team acting on -' Carol begins, before Beaulieu interrupts her, motioning to the images on screen, he aswks 'I'm sorry, what's this?' Carol informs him that they are gathering data on known bad actors, to take to Ulysses. 'Last I heard, these guys are all dead' Gyrich remarks. 'If I had a dollar for every “dead” lunatic who showed up again, I could buy an F-15' Carol replies. 'Fair enough' Beaulieu remarks, before pushing a button on a panel, causing an image of Iron Man to appear as he suggests they prioritize those above ground. 'Especially – and I say this with regret – anyone opposing our efforts' he adds.

'They're not criminals. They believe in what they're doing. Just like us' Carol reminds Gyrich and Beaulieu, who replies 'No one is talking about arresting them...without reason. But think about it... wouldn't you like to have known Hawkeye would kill Bruce Banner in time to stop it?' This causes Carol to frown. She notices staff have stopped what they are doing and look at her. 'I can see adding those with a criminal record, like Hawkeye. That's as far as I'll go' she announces, before pointing at Beaulieu and tells him that she is doing this her way, because she believes in it, and adds that the Inhumans are cooperating because they trust her. 'If other old friends...hate me, I can live with that. Because I know how many innocent people we've saved' Carol reports, adding that it only works if they hold themselves to a strict standard, show they are not just targeting people they don't like. 'That, I'll never sign off on'. Carol turns and starts to walk away from Gyrich and Beaulieu, warning them that the second they ask her to do something she can't live with, then she is gone. 'And you can see how well all this works without me'.

Three days later, Captain Marvel, Aurora, Sasquatch and Puck arrive back at the Triskelion with the captive Mutant Force – Burner, Lifter, Slither and Shocker. Guards are waiting for them, and Sasquatch reports that they caught Mutant Force in the act of attacking an army base. He instructs the guards to take them to detention. 'We are sovereign mutant citizens and do not recognize your authority!' Lifter exclaims. 'You've got the right to remain silent. Exercise it' Captain Marvel tells him, when suddenly, Puck looks up: 'Unidentified bogey incoming!' he shouts as something falls down around them all. 'They're dropping a bomb!' Puck calls out. Carol and Aurora look up, 'No. Not a bomb...' Aurora utters as the Master of Magnetism, Magneto, hovers over them. 'Captain. I'm returning the drones you keep sending to spy on us' Magneto announces, referring to the scattered scrap metal around the heroes. Aurora takes to the air, hovering above her teammates as Captain Marvel informs Magneto that it is really just he that they are keeping an eye on – the whole “mutant supremacist terrorist” thing. 'Am I the subject of this Inhuman's visions?' Magneto enquires. 'More a person of interest. We're broadening our scope' Captain Marvel explains.

'Yes, this is how it starts. Next come the detention camps' Magneto frowns. 'Right. I forgot. You're that guy online who compares everything to Hitler' Captain Marvel tells him. Magneto ignores that comment and turns to Aurora, announcing that he is very disappointed in her, as she is one of them. 'Mutantkind is in dire straits. I'd hoped you would see the danger this “predictive justice” poses to our people, and fight for us... rather than joining our oppressors yet again'. Aurora listens to what Magneto has to say, before telling him that she is who, and what, she chooses to be – much like Storm, and iceman and many other mutants who stand with them, she can differentiate between their interests, and Magneto's. Captain Marvel informs Magneto that she has work to do, and asks him if they are going to fight or what. Magneto announces that he will not attack unless they send more drones – he will take that as an act of war. 'If you wish to strike at me, unprovoked... I will gladly drop this entire facility into the sea' Magneto declares, but gets no response from Carol. 'Very well, then' Magneto replies, turning away. 'Wait' Carol suddenly calls out.

'How'd you even find the drones? They operate from high altitudes. And they're supposed to be cloaked, even from you' Carol informs Magneto. Magneto narrows his eyes: 'I am Magneto. That is all the explanation necessary' the powerful mutant responds, before taking flight, away from the heroes. 'That guy needs to work on his confidence, eh?' Puck asks, turning to his teammates.

Two days later, aboard the Alpha Flight Space Station:
'You do realize I'm a doctor. IT staff handles maintenance issues' the Cat-Doctor remarks to Captain Marvel. Carol tells the unusual creature that she has already talked to them, and that everything checks out clear, but that there have been a vew too many cases where the people opposiing them seemed to have read their playbook. 'If anyone can get a Trojan Horse into our systems and make it undetectable, it's Tony Stark' Carol adds. She asks the Cat-Doctor if he has living cyber-circuitry running through his rig, and whether he knows it inside and out. 'Of course. I minored in mechano-medicine at Procyon Medical School' the Cat-Doctor replies. 'So if you could just ask your systems to look for anything suspicious, anything hidden -' Carol begins, before the Cat-Doctor announces that he has found something.

'You were right. Predictive justice personnel movements are securely sent back and forth between here and the Triskelion' the Cat-Doctor informs Carol, revealing that one in every few hundred tramissions are being re-beamed to an off-site satellite, disguised amid innocuous updates on global weather. 'Let me guess. That weather satellite uses StarkTech' Carol replies. 'From a company since bought out by the Fujikawa Corporation...but I'd imagine Mr Stark can still access it' the Cat-Doctor remarks, looking at Carol. 'That son of a – how'd he get it past our security?' Carol wonders. 'That's the troubling part, Commander' the Cat-Doctor replies, explaining that this is sophisticated, like hiding a cure for a disease in a genetically modified virus – and the security camera footage has been altered as well. The Cat-Doctor reveals that only someone physically on board the station could have done this – someone with the highest level of clearance. 'A mole?' Carol asks, wide-eyed and gape-jawed.

The next day, Captain Marvel walks through the Alpha Flight Space Station, with Ulysses Cain the Inhuman at her side. She tells him that she appreciates him coming. 'Are you kidding? I rode up here in a space elevator. Thank you' Ulysses replies. He adds that he just hopes hew cvan help. Ulysses tells Captain Marvel that he understands his powers better every day, but that he still can't control what he sees, or when. 'I know. And it's fine. Just do the best you can' Captain Marvel tells him. Ulysses suddenly notices all of the Space Station crew looking at him. 'Um...everyone's looking at me' he remarks to Captain Marvel, who tells him that he is kind of a celebrity around here. 'Some of them look...scared' Ulysses points out, glancing over his shoulder. 'Ulysses. Look at me' Carol tells him, putting a hand on his shoulder, she tells him that he is doing great and that he has saved countless lives. 'I'm the one who's implementing this. If anyone has a problem with how we do things, their problem's with me' Carol points out, telling Ulysses not to worry about the outside crap – it is her job to protect him from gthat. 'And I promise you I will' she declares.

Suddenly: 'Oh -' Ulysses gasps as his eyes turn red and a look of fear spreads across his face. 'Are you okay? Did you...see anything?' Carol asks. 'Not what you asked...nothing about the servers. But...that lady. The pretty one, you called her Aurora. I see you fighting her' Ulysses announces, and Carol goes wide-eyed, when suddenly, Aurora, Sasquatch and Puck appear nearby. 'Commander, you didn't tell us we were being visited by the man of the hour' Aurora remarks, without approaching Ulysses. 'Great to meet ya, kid. Call me Puck' Judd exclaims as he shakes Ulysses' hand. Sasquatch extends one of his large hands, too, and introduces himself as Walter Langkowski. He explains that his field if physics, and tells Ulysses that he would love to ask him some questions if he had a moment. But Carol interrupts Alpha Flight and leads Ulysses away. 'He has to go. Now' Carol announces, informing Alpha Flight that they will pick this up later.

And later, ''ve got to be kidding' Puck exclaims. Carol sits on a bench as Alpha Flight stand before her. 'After everything. All I've done for you and this team – the hate from so many of my fellow mutants – you have the gall to accuse me of this?' an angry Aurora asks, hand on hip. 'I'm accusing you of nothing. I just laid out the facts I know. And the vision Ulysses had' Carol replies, calmly. 'Yes, well, after what you just said to me, I do feel like punching you' Aurora exclaims. Sasquatch tries to calm the situation down by suggesting they all take a breath. He tells Aurora that Carol is just trying to get answers. 'Exactly. I'm being as open and transparent here as I know how' Carol replies, adding that she is asking for their help to figure this out – and all she wants is the truth.

'Fine. Here is the truth: I believe in the work you've done. I believe you are doing all you can to see it is executed properly. I applaud your efforts to avoid profiling anyone by race, genetics or ethnicity. But I do have...concerns. Especially with the new dossiers you are assembling' Aurora announces. She gets agitated as she declares that people will be put on a list – marked as dangerous – because of who they are. Mutants, the mentally ill. 'Only if they have a record. Only based on actions' Carol declares. 'I understand. And on balance, I believe the benefits of predictive justice outweigh the drawbacks' Aurora reveals. She turns away from Carol as she assures her that she is committed to the cause, and that she would never do what Carol is “asking” her about. 'Are you satisfied' she asks. Carol narrows her eyes and folds her arms as she tells Aurora that she believes her, before pointing out that Aurora has the concerns that she just mentioned, and that she can move at superhuman speed, sometimes too fast to be seen. 'And you have another personality. You could have funnelled our intel to Iron Man and not known it' Carol suggests, causing Aurora to look horrified.

'I quit' Aurora announces as she starts to walk out of the room. 'That was out of line, Commander' Puck tells Captain Marvel. 'This is exactly what I am talking about! I am being judged as guilty because of who I am!' Aurora exclaims. 'Please, just work with me here' Carol asks, running a hand through her hair. Sasquatch turns to Captain Marvel and tells her that he doesn't think she realizes how hard Aurora has worked to get her disorder under control. 'She's proven herself countless -' Sasquatch begins, but Carol interrupts him, declaring that is fine, she understands – Aurora has every right to quit. 'I might do the same in her place' Carol admits, before stepping in front of Aurora and telling her that she can't let her leave until they have cleared her. 'Let me?' Aurora snaps, before she slams a fist into Captain Marvel's face, knocking Carol backwards into the bench, which collapses. 'I am leaving. Get out of my way... or be removed' Aurora warns Carol. Sasquatch and Puck stand at Aurora's side as Carol asks them if they feel the same way.

'We were Alpha Flight back when you were wearing the sash and thigh-highs' Puck reminds Carol, while Sasquatch tells her that if they have to choose a side, then they stand with Aurora. 'All right. Aurora, Sasquatch,'re under arrest!' Captain Marvel announces as she lunges towards Aurora, who lunges straight back towards Carol, Puck and Sasquatch at her side!

Meanwhile, 'Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight... fighting each other?' remarks Philippe Beaulieu as he watches the fightn on a portable device from an unknown location. 'About time... considering all I've done to arrange it' he smirks....

Characters Involved: 

Captain Marvel VI
Aurora, Puck, Sasquatch (all Alpha Flight)
Philippe Beaulieu, Henry Peter Gyrich and others (all Alpha Flight's Board of Governors)
Cat Doctor
Alpha Flight Space Station crew

Ulysses Cain
Burner, Lifter, Shocker, Slither (all Mutant Force)
Owen LeClerc

In photographs:
Ant-Man II, Aurora, Black Panther, Blue Marvel, Ms Marvel IV, Sasquatch, Spectrum, Spider-Man, Spider-Man Miles Morales

images on computer monitors:
Iron Man
Baron Zemo, Count Nefaria, Dark Phoenix, Fu Manchu, Madame Masque, Master of the World, MODOK

Written By: